Finding the ‘Why’ in Business Culture to Set up Future Success

Although Chris Herron and the initial team that helped start Creature Comforts are there now, the future of how the company will operate after they are gone is just as important. With that forward-thinking process in mind, the Athens, Georgia brewery worked toward becoming B Corp certified over the past few years. Herron spoke to Brewer about that journey during the cover story interview for the July/August print issue of Brewer.

“It really goes into governance, environment, community, your people, and then community impact,” Herron said. “It starts to take a more holistic look. B Corp is less about hitting A, B, and C. It’s more: Do you have plans in place to continue to move you forward in all of these different areas. It’s really, I think, helped us define what being a great company will look like for us.

“Of course, we want the beer to be incredible, but I think in the crowded space that we have today with where the world is moving — and for good reason — people are interested in making sure that the companies behind the products are great businesses, and that there’s good nature in those entities. And B Corp has really given us a framework for trying to say that.”

READ MORE: Becoming B Corp Certified

Herron joked that every 100-year-old brewery was seven years old at one point and feels they have been intentional in making the best moves for the company so far, but what about how what they do now will ensure it is here 100 years from now? Caring for employees now helps set that backbone straight.

“It won’t be from us,” he said. “The reality is this organization at this point, this company, this business … there are 100-plus people here that operate Creature. It’s been a long time since it was ‘our brewery’ from that standpoint.”

Herron can’t take credit for the thought process that led to B Corp status, instead saying the incredible employees on staff helped guide and push the ownership to move toward that situation.

“The key is we do a lot of leadership training, we outsource to a third party for the past three years,” he explained. “They come in and develop leadership and every employee in our company has access to that as well.

“It’s about multiplying skill sets and knowledge base through the organization. Creature will eventually be far better [for it]. For us being able to figure out how to allow the other voices in the organization to be heard more frequently — creating more diversity within the organization — that’s a big goal of ours as we move forward as well.”

Being aware of these changes, even if your company is already in that realm, can be a more expressive example of the market out there. Herron said one of its values is to leave a legacy. So that up now is something they take very seriously, this idea of setting its successors up for success so whoever’s after them and be in a better place, because the team now got that going early.

“We’re no longer going to be just a small brewery, we can’t go back to that,” he said of Creature Comforts. “At some point, you start to realize we have an incredibly diverse consumer following. We want to get better at being more representative of that internally so that we can make better decisions.”

Photo courtesy Creature Comforts

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